Tech tycoons, Apple and Google, have found themselves in a global controversy over a Saudi App. ‘Absher’ was launched in Saudi Arabia in 2015 and is considered a one-click electronic service platform where Saudis are
Through the app, residents can renew drivers licenses, IDs, passports, car registrations, or make appointments. This month, Western media deemed the application as an
In an official statement, the Ministry of Interior denied the allegations and stated that the platform offers more than 160 different services for all members of society, including women, the elderly, and people with special needs.
Apple and Google are currently under pressure by Human Rights activists and lawyers to disable the app or disable the feature that allows women to be tracked. “It’s really designed with the men in mind,” said Rothna Begum, a senior researcher on women’s rights at Human Rights Watch. “Of course, it’s incredibly demeaning, insulting, and humiliating for the women and downright abusive in many cases, because you’re allowing men absolute control over women’s movements.”
US. Senator, Ron Wyden, took to Twitter to urge Google and Apple to disable the app.
Yet, some Saudi Arabians, both men and women, came to the defence of Absher, describing it as the most helpful tool.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked about Absher during an interview with NPR. “I haven’t heard about it,” he said. “But obviously we’ll take a look at it if that’s the case.”